May 8, 2020 / 3:39 AM / 23 days ago

Tokyo shares rise on hopes of easing in U.S.-China tensions

SYDNEY, May 8 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Friday, in line with Wall Street’s gains, as news about top trade representatives of China and the United States holding a phone call calmed investors worried about simmering tensions, with cyclical shares leading gains.

The benchmark Nikkei average climbed 1.8% to 20,025.91 by the midday break. Earlier in the session, the index rose as much as 2.1% to hit a one-week intraday high.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed to strengthen macroeconomic and public health cooperation along with creating a favourable environment to implement the Phase 1 trade deal, China’s commerce ministry said.

On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that top trade negotiators from the United States and China will hold a phone call as early as next week, citing sources.

Meanwhile, Wall Street’s indexes climbed on Thursday, with the Nasdaq advancing 1.4% to erase losses for 2020. E-mini futures for the S&P 500 index was last quoted 1.1% higher in Asian trade.

The broader Topix gained 1.5% to 1,447.66 by the midday recess, with all but one of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading higher.

Highly cyclical iron and steel, sea transport and non-ferrous metals were the top three performing sectors on the main bourse.

Nippon Steel Corp and JFE Holdings Inc gained 4.1% and 4.3%, respectively. Nippon Yusen KK rose 3.3%.

Nintendo Co Ltd tumbled 5.2% as investors took profits after the company’s fourth-quarter profit soared 200% due to surging demand for its Switch games console and popularity of its “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” title.

The Japanese gaming giant forecast a 22.7% fall in its net profit for the current business year through March 2021, which is widely viewed as “too conservative.”

Bucking the overall market, the index of Mothers start-up shares retreated 1.3%, after hitting a near three-month high on Thursday, with biopharma AnGes Inc diving 11.6%. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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